Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 21/10/2020

HELD [FrightFest Oct 2020]

CERT: TBC / RELEASE DATE: TBC

The Barretts are having a rough time in their relationship. Emma (Jill Awbrey) is distant and Henry (Bart Johnson) is working all hours. It’s their anniversary, though, so Henry has booked a swish place away from it all for the weekend. The house has a state-of-the-art security system, a pool, acres of trees, and a vintage rotary phone. Emma gets there first and after being unsettled by her Uber driver (Rez Kempton) but is soon in the bath and relaxing with a glass of wine. Henry joins her later and the pair settle down with drinks, although Emma is still a little cold with him. The next day, however, they wake and their clothes have been replaced, phones taken, and an ominous voice tells them to obey…

Held was written by Awbrey and directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, and one has to wonder what sort of relationship traumas she has been through, as the ordeal the couple go through is pretty intense. Naturally, we won’t go into spoiler territory, but the reason for the Saw-esque taunting of the pair and seemingly moral stance the ‘voice’ in the house takes is pretty messed up. Cluff and Lofing manage to create some incredible tension within a context that we’ve essentially seen done many times, and luckily, the story takes enough unique turns to keep it on the right track.

Without relying on jump scares, Held keeps the viewer on edge throughout most of the running time, even after we’ve found out what’s going on. It might be a good idea to cancel that anniversary weekend away.

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